The Year I Stopped Pretending

I don’t think I knew who I was until this year.

It is true that character is revealed in hardship. Life throws an impossible, unbearable situation at you, and the only way to survive is to follow your instincts.

Fight or flight. Love or hate. Forgiveness or resentment. Apathy or emotion.

This year, I was so sick, I wasn’t sure I could ever trust my body to function again.

This year, I traded my beloved TV career for a more stable job that drove me to depression.

This year, I lost my sick grandmother, and I’m still grieving her loss and the giant hole her absence left in my entire family.

This year, I took risks with my heart with two different boys and watched my hope crumble to pieces before my eyes.

But you know what?

I’m still alive.

In the past, whenever something bad happened to me, I shut down. I buried my feelings deep down and pretended they didn’t exist in order to move on with my life. I didn’t know how else to cope. I didn’t want to be weak or vulnerable.

This is the year I stopped pretending.

I am emotional. I care too much. I fall hard for boys for all the wrong reasons. I hope against hope. I think with my heart. I can’t fake loving something I don’t. I’m terrified of love, but I crave it with every cell in my body. I want more from my life than a paycheck and material possessions – all the pretty dresses and shoes in the world aren’t enough to make me happy.

This is who I am, and I won’t apologize for it.

Not ever again.

I still don’t know where I’m going. I like myself most days, but sometimes I don’t. I’m not sure what I’m doing with my life. I love the city where I live now and the people I share a house with, but I don’t think I’ll be here my whole life. I’ve never been in love with anyone who felt the same way about me. I can’t keep a job because it’s the rational thing to do. I can’t be friends with someone who makes me feel bad about my choices instead of supporting me in hard times.

But that’s okay.

Because from now on, I will go through life without apologizing for knowing what I want, or for going after it. My choices are my own. This is my life and I have to love living it. And I will do whatever it takes to keep wanting to wake up in the morning and looking forward to the future.

In the end, this life is all I have.

And I’m ready to live it.

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One response to “The Year I Stopped Pretending

  1. Dear Laurie,
    My name is Ashlee. I’m co-founder of The Youshare Project, with the mission to connect people around the world through stories. I recently stumbled across your blog and read the post “The Year I Stopped Pretending.” I thought it was incredibly insightful and compelling. It took me many years to learn this lesson as well, many. And I believe it would make a wonderful youshare, because perhaps it could help others come to this realization much earlier in life. If this sounds interesting to you, I would love to email you directly with more information and formally invite you to share your story with the project.

    You have my email address and website (although please note the site is still under development but we are posting new stories frequently). I hope to hear from you soon.

    Best,
    Ashlee

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